County to rehome six Afghan families following Taliban victory in Kabul

The Taliban's seizure of power in Afghanistan has seen the UK promise to resettle refugee families fleeing the country, with Northumberland the expected destination for at least six by the end of the year.

Wednesday, 18th August 2021, 10:39 am
People wait to be evacuated from Afghanistan at the airport in Kabul on August 18, 2021, following the Taliban stunning takeover of the country. (Photo by AFP via Getty Images)

The rapid power grab by the Taliban, which has now taken control of the capital Kabul, has raised fears for the future of women and girls, in particular, in the country, as well as for the safety of former government officials and military translators.

And following the announcement that the UK would offer safe haven to some of those considered most in need, it has been confirmed that the North East will be among the destinations on offer to them.

A spokesman for Northumberland County Council said: “Northumberland has a long history of supporting those in need from other countries and prior to the current situation in Afghanistan we agreed to the Government’s request to support their Afghan Local Employed Staff (LES) resettlement proposals.

“We are initially looking to support three families in the near future, with a further three families to follow later in the year.

“We will also review options to either accelerate or increase our support as necessary.”

While Northumberland is set to take six families, it has not yet been confirmed how many could be allowed to settle in the UK once they leave Afghanistan.

More than 3,300 Afghan interpreters, staff and their families have already been allowed into Britain.

The resettlement scheme being considered is reportedly set to be similar to a programme offered to Syrian refugees.

About 20,000 Syrians who fled conflict in their home country have been resettled in the UK since 2014.

Speaking to the BBC on Tuesday morning (August 17), the Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, called the UK a ‘big-hearted nation’ with a tradition of offering ‘safe haven for those fleeing persecution’.

He added: “The most important thing we can do is try and provide stability so we don’t see large numbers of migrant flows.

“I think that ought to be the number one priority, but nonetheless asylum is really important.”

James Harrison, Local Democracy Reporting Service